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Bursting of crackers on Diwali: No blanket ban, but SC lays down restrictions for all festivals

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Bursting of crackers on Diwali: No blanket ban, but SC lays down restrictions for all festivals

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Amid the precarious air pollution situation in Delhi and several other parts of the country and Diwali approaching, the Supreme Court today (Tuesday, October 23) laid down restrictions to be followed for bursting of crackers applicable across the board for all festivals.

However, to the relief of citizens, the top court declined to issue a blanket, country-wide ban on fireworks.

A Supreme Court bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan was hearing a bunch of petitions – including one filed by minors Arjun Gopal, Aarav Bhandari and Zoya Rao Bhasin (all aged below four years) through senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan – which had sought a complete ban on the manufacturing, transportation and sale of fire crackers.

The court clarified that on festivals, including Diwali, the bursting of firecrackers will be allowed only between 8 pm and 10 pm. On Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the bench said, crackers can be burst between 11:45 pm and 12:45 am.

“We make it clear that we are concerned not only with Diwali… be it Gurpurab or Christmas, our directions will work across the board,” said Justice Sikri.

No fire crackers would be burst during the day, said the SC.

The SC said “improved and green” crackers can be manufactured and sold only by the licensed holders. The court imposed a complete ban on the sale of firecrackers by e-commerce firms, including Amazon and Flipkart.

It added that firecrackers will also have to comply with the prescribed noise levels and also barred the use of some chemicals, including barium salt, in the manufacturing.

The SC ordered the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) to give clearances to crackers only if they meet noise and emission standards. The court order made it clear that the existing stock of crackers would become redundant.

The court added that the Centre and state governments should promote community bursting of firecrackers by designating such spots.

In the national capital, the Supreme Court said the Aam Aadmi Party government should look into the possibility of community fireworks to reduce the pollution load. If the government goes for this, the judges said this should be done within the next week so that people do not end up buying firecrackers.

Local police officers shall be personally liable if there is a violation of the court orders and will be hauled up for contempt.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1540286805313{border-top-width: 10px !important;border-right-width: 10px !important;border-bottom-width: 10px !important;border-left-width: 10px !important;padding-top: 10px !important;padding-right: 10px !important;padding-bottom: 10px !important;padding-left: 10px !important;background-color: #e5e5e5 !important;border-radius: 10px !important;}”]Main points

* People can burst low-emission firecrackers for 2 hours on Diwali (8pm to 10 pm), 35 minutes on Christmas and New Year’s eve (11.55 pm to 12.30 am).

* The top court asks Centre to encourage community cracker-bursting during Diwali and other festivals in Delhi-NCR.

* SC bans the online sale of firecrackers and puts a stay on the e-commerce portals from selling firecrackers.

* The top court asks the Central Pollution Control Board to monitor air quality 7 days before and 7 days after Diwali.

* Firecrackers can be sold only through licence holders.

* The area Station house officers will be held accountable if banned firecrackers are sold in their area.

* PESSO (Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization) asked review the clinical composition of fireworks and give the suggestion within two weeks.

* The court ruling shall apply to all festivals and marriages.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The judge said that this judgment has tried to strike a balance and has relied majorly on the suggestions and guidelines proposed by the central government.

The bench had reserved its verdict on the PILs on August 28 following elaborate arguments which saw Chairman, Centre for Chest Surgery & Lung Transplantation, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital and chief of Lung Foundation Dr Arvind Kumar make a passionate appeal before the judges in favour of banning fire crackers completely. Dr Kumar had placed on record graphic images of lungs of his patients, and explained to the court how, “everyone had turned a smoker” because of the high level of air pollution. He had established that the spike in air pollutants during Diwali, primarily due to bursting of fire crackers, could turn fatal for people with lung conditions.

Standing counsel for the Central Pollution Control Board, Supreme Court advocate Vijay Panjwani, who had supported the appeal for a complete ban on fire crackers during the court proceedings told reporters after the apex court’s verdict that though the “order is not very strict, it will regulate the sale and use of crackers to some extent”.

“All state pollution control boards and the Central Pollution Control Board will measure particulate matters (PM) 2.5 and 10 in the air seven days ahead of Diwali and seven days after Diwali,” Panjwani said.

Last year the top court had imposed a complete ban on sale of firecrackers in the national capital region and today’s decision brings relief for many Delhites wanting to celebrate Diwali the way have been accustomes to.

For the rest of the country, it will be the first time that the festival of lights would be celebrated under strict restrictions.

The top court had earlier said all aspects, including the fundamental right of livelihood of firecracker manufacturers and the right to health of over 1.3 billion people in the country, needs to be taken into account while considering a plea for the ban.

It had asked the Centre to suggest measures to be taken to curb the pollution and the effect of firecrackers on the public at large.

Manufacturers earlier told the court that the use of firecrackers should not be completely banned and it should instead be strictly regulated. They said firecrackers are not the reason for the increase in air pollution and there are other factors, like wind and temperature, which contribute to it.

India’s poor air quality causes over one million premature deaths every year, according to a joint report by two US-based health research institutes earlier this year. Delhi’s Air Quality Index (AQI) continued to be ‘very poor’ on Monday with an average reading of 318 of PM (particulate matter) 2.5 at 9 am, according to data of System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR).

Last October, the Supreme Court suspended the sale of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR till November 1 in the run up to Diwali which was celebrated on October 19 in 2017. But the use of firecrackers in the city was still rampant on Diwali day, according to an analysis of CPCB data by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

The average PM2.5 concentration during Diwali and the morning after (12pm-12am, October 19-20) was 397 microgramme per cubic metre — 6.6 times higher than the safe limit and is in the ‘emergency’ zone. The day before Diwali (October 18), the 24-hour average was 184 microgramme per cubic metres.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Uttar Pradesh: 19-year-old girl strangled to death after being raped in Mainpuri

It is being speculated that fearing that the girl student would complain, the accused raped, murdered the 19 year old and fled from the spot.

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The shocking news of rape has come to light from Bhogaon in Uttar Pradesh’s Mainpuri. After raping the girl student on Wednesday, she was strangled to death and the body was later hanged.

On receiving information about the incident, the police-administration reached the spot and started the investigation in search of the accuse. Currently, the police has sent the body for post-mortem.

While interacting with the media and giving out information about this incident of rape and murder, Mainpuri SP Kamlesh Dixit said that, the police had received information about the rape and murder of the girl in Nagla Sheesham village. The police reached the spot and took immediate action in the matter. He also assured that the culprits will be arrested soon.

According to the information received to the police, a 19-year-old student of B.Sc. second year and resident of Nagla Sheesham village of Bhogaon police station area, was present at home along with her fifteen year old sister. Their parents had gone out for some work an around 3 o’clock in the evening, Pushpendra Lodhi (25), from the same village entered the house and forcibly raped the girl.

And the accused did not stop there he strangled the girl to death and later hanged the body on the noose. It is being speculated that fearing that the girl student would complain, the accused raped, murdered the 19 year old and fled from the spot.

However, the younger sister present in the house made noise and opened the door of the house, telling the people of the neighborhood about the whole incident. There was a stir in the village as soon as the information about the incident got spread. As soon as the information was received, the parents also hurriedly left for home. At present, the police is looking for the accused.

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Kullu Dussehra swing accident: 3 people, including 1 woman, sustained injuries after tyre falls on their head | WATCH

During the incident, two people from Delhi and a woman from Kullu sustained major injuries.

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Kullu Dussehra swing accident: 3 people, including 1 woman, sustained injuries after tyre falls on their head | WATCH

Dussehra is celebrated with great pomp and zeal in India. From having good food to enjoying swings, people visit Dussehra fairs to mark this festival. But a horrific incident happened during International Kullu Dussehra Festival in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu when three people sustained injuries after a swing tyre fell on them on Wednesday at around 9 pm.

The video of the same is going viral on social media in which it can be seen that, as and when the woman stepped outside the swing, its tyre suddenly broke and fell on another woman standing nearby. During the incident, two people from Delhi and a woman from Kullu sustained major injuries.

The good part was that the swing was not moving at that time, otherwise, a serious accident might have occurred if it had continued to swing. At the time of the incident, people were getting off the swing. When the girl left the swing, the tyre touched her head and landed on another girl who was standing close by, and she fainted.

The police rushed to the spot immediately after receiving the information about the incident. After reaching, the authorities sealed the swing. The police are conducting research thoroughly to find the reason behind the mishap.

Speaking about the incident, Additional Superintendent of Police Kullu Sagar Chandra said that the swing was sealed as soon as the information was received. The girl is undergoing treatment in the hospital as she has suffered a neck injury, while information about where the two tourists from Delhi went for treatment is not available.

A similar incident took place a few days ago in Punjab’s Mohali after a swing fell to the ground at the Dussehra fair, injuring around 20 people.

In another incident, an 80-foot effigy of Ravana fell on the ground in Haryana’s Yamunanagar during Ravana Dahan. The video of the incident is doing rounds on the internet in which it can be seen that people were standing close to the nearly-burnt effigy of Ravana when it started falling.

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West Bengal: 8 people died by drowning in Mal river during visarjan | Watch

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the floods.

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At least eight people drowned and several others are missing in flash floods that occurred during the immersion of idols of Goddess Durga in Mal river in Jalpaiguri district on the occasion of Vijayadashami.

A senior official said that at the time of the incident, hundreds of people had gathered on the banks of the Mal river for the visargan when the incident took place. Jalpaiguri District Magistrate Moumita Godara gave media update and said that people were washed away due to sudden intensification of water in the river. So far eight bodies have been recovered and 50 people have been rescued.

He further added that that 13 people with minor injuries have been admitted to a nearby hospital. And the search and rescue operation is being carried out by NDRF (National Disaster Response Force), SDRF (State Disaster Response Force) with the help of police and local administration.

State Backward Classes Welfare Minister Bulu Chik Baraik expressed his apprehension that the death toll will increase further. Baraik Mal is the MLA of the assembly constituency. He said that he was present at the spot when the accident happened. Several got washed away and the river’s current was very fast.

He said that hundreds of people were present there at the time of the incident and many are still missing. Baraik and several senior Trinamool Congress leaders reached the spot to take stock of the relief and rescue operations.

Leader of Opposition in West Bengal Legislative Assembly Shubhendu Adhikari expressed grief over the incident and requested the state administration to expedite the rescue work.

On the other hand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the floods. PM Modi tweeted, “Saddened by the accident that happened during Durga Puja festival in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal. Condolences to those who lost their loved ones.”

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